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Kubernetes–Setup a local cluster through Podman Desktop

Running a local Kubernetes cluster is easy thanks to Podman Desktop and Kind. In this post I show you how to setup a kind environment from Podman Desktop.

But first an introduction…

What is Podman Desktop?

Podman Desktop is an open source graphical tool enabling you to seamlessly work with containers and Kubernetes from your local environment. It offers similar functionality as Docker Desktop.

Installing Podman Desktop(on Windows) is easy:

  1. Download the Windows installer.

  2. Start the Podman Desktop installer, open the downloaded file.

Podman Desktop uses WSL2 to run a a Linux distribution in a virtual machine. It can be that a restart is required as the installer will try to enable/install WSL2 during the process.

More information: Windows | Podman Desktop (

What is Kind?

Kind is an open source project that allows to run Kubernetes clusters in a container engine (could be Docker or Podman or others). This is usually quite helpful for development and testing purposes, as you can run a Kubernetes locally in a lightweight fashion.

The easiest way to install Kind on Windows is through the Chocolatey package manager:

choco install kind

Run Kubernetes in Podman Desktop

Now that all required components are installed, we can create our local Kubernetes cluster.

  • Open Podman Desktop and go to Settings

  • Click on Resources and choose Create new… to create a new Podman machine (you can skip this step and the next if you already have a Podman machine running.
  • Specify a name, # of CPU’s, an amount of memory and click on Create.
  • Now go to the Kind section in the Resources and click on Create new …
  • Specify a name, leave the other settings intact and click on Create.

The first time I did this, it failed with the following error message in the logs:

This is because Podman creates the machine by default in rootless mode. However when running the Podman machine on WSL in combination with Kind a rootful machine is needed. Therefore we need to take the following actions:

  • Stop the podman machine

podman machine stop

  • Set the machine in rootful mode:

podman machine set --rootful

  • Restart the machine:

podman machine start

Let’s now try again to create a local cluster:

  • Go to the Kind section in  Resources and click on Create new …
  • Specify a name, leave the other settings intact and click on Create.

Once the cluster is created, we can change the Kubernetes context to use our newly created cluster.

  • Click on the Kubernetes icon in the status bar of Podman Desktop at the bottom and select the correct cluster from the drop down.

Finally we are ready to start adding our first pods:

  • Go to the Pods screen, click the Play Kubernetes YAML button and select a yaml file that contains the Pod metadata.

You are good to go!

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